Why Fishermen Fish at Night (Why, What For, When and Where)

Night fishing at sea

Fishing is a hobby that many people enjoy. While most fishermen hit the water during the day, there are many reasons why fishermen fish at night.

You may think that fishing at night is counterproductive because it’s dark and you can’t see as well as you can during the day. But the darkness is the main reason fishermen sometimes fish at night. Fish tend to be more active after daylight hours.

If you want to have a successful fishing trip and bring home a big haul, understanding why fishermen go fishing at night can help you determine the best time to hit the water.

Why Should Fishermen Fish at Night?

Many people fish early in the morning or late in the evening to stay away from the day’s heat. The main reason to fish at night is that fish are more active when the sun goes down.

Fishing can be good any time of day, but if you’re willing to get out on the water or visit your favorite fishing pier in the middle of the night, you may get an even bigger haul.

Be sure and check the regulations first to make sure fishing at night is allowed.

Why Are Fish More Active at Night?

Netting a carp while fishing at night

Fish are more active at night than during the day for two reasons.

1. Fish tend to eat at night using the light from the moon to find food. By the time the sun rises, many fish have had their fill and may be less tempted by a lure from a daytime fisherman.

2. The second reason fish are more active at night is because of the water temperature. When the sun warms the water during the heat of the day, fish dive deep to stay cool and comfortable. You may need the help of a fish finder to locate good spots to fish in the heat of the day.

At night, however, the water’s surface is much cooler than it is during the day. Fish are more likely to stay near the surface when the water is cool.

What Fish Are Active at Night?

Most fish species are active at night, which is why fishermen fish at night. Prey fish are hungry at night and may be more likely to be tempted by a fishing lure. Predatory species are also at a disadvantage because they can’t see as well at night, so they often mistake lures for smaller prey fish.

The type of fish you can catch at night varies depending on whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater. Still, you can typically expect to see higher levels of activity in many fish species, including:

  • Walleye
  • Panfish
  • Striped bass
  • Catfish
  • Bluefish

What Is the Best Time To Fish at Night?

You can have a successful fishing excursion at any time of night. You may want to study the habits of the type of fish you are hoping to find because some species are active the first part of the night and then tend to hide in deeper water as the night wears on.

In general, the best time for night fishing is the first hour after the sun sets or the hour before the sun rises. These time frames overlap for fish that are more active at night and those that are active during the day, so you are likely to have more fish available to catch.

Is It Better To Fish During Night or Day?

You can be successful fishing day or night. There are benefits to fishing at both times. However, there are many reasons to fish at night rather than during daylight hours.

Anglers go fishing at night for a wide variety of reasons, including:

Cooler temperatures: There is no reason to worry about sunburn when the sun sets. The temperature is much more comfortable, so you can stay out fishing for longer periods.

Chances to see a different side of nature: If you’re fishing in saltwater, a nighttime excursion may give you a unique opportunity to see bioluminescent fish.

Less crowded: Whether you’re fishing on the ocean or a lake, fewer fishermen are out at night than out during the day. Fish are less skittish when there is less activity on the water. With less competition, you’re likely to have more success fishing.

Where To Go Night Fishing

Night fishing is no different than day fishing when it comes to finding a good spot. Fish tend to feed in shallow water. So places where small creeks meet larger bodies of water are ideal fishing spots. Areas with deep water ledges, drop-offs, and sloping points can also be prime spots to catch larger-than-average fish.

Remember the two greatest factors in fish habitat – structure and cover!

And before you go out after sunset, be sure it’s legal where you’re going. Check with the local fish and game department first.

And unless you are 100% certain it is legal and ethical to use a spotlight for the type of fishing you are doing, don’t do it! Sportsmen and women need to stick together in being responsible.

Saltwater Night Fishing

Chair and rod set up for surf fishing at night
Take advantage of cool nights with a full moon.

If you want to catch huge fish, saltwater fishing could be the best choice for you. You can fish for saltwater fish the same as you would during the day, but you should take a few safety precautions.

Ensure you’re familiar with your fishing spot during the day, so you aren’t in an unfamiliar environment at night. You’ll need to know how the tide is going to affect where you’re at to make sure you’re not in too deep.

You should also choose calm, cool nights when the moon is full so that fish can see well enough to hunt in the low light.

You may catch a wide variety of fish, including the following species:

  • King mackerel
  • Grouper
  • Mutton snapper
  • Yellowtail
  • Mangrove snapper

Freshwater Night Fishing

You can catch many of the same freshwater fish species at night as you can during the day. Certain bass may be less active at night due to poor eyesight, but striped bass may be particularly active at night. If you want to catch big bass, nighttime is a perfect time to fish.

Finding the right time to go fishing is essential for a successful excursion. If you’ve ever wondered why do fishermen go fishing at night, it’s because fish are usually more active at night.

If you try fishing at night, you’ll probably discover other reasons why you like it too. Learn what the rules are in your area to see if you can fish at night and you just might be rewarded with a big one!

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